Listening to a Stranger, Toward Understanding

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For this challenge, go out into the world and meet a total stranger, hear their story, and ask if you can share it, and include a picture of them. Step outside your comfort zone and try to meet someone different from you – of a different age, background, or walk of life. Your write-up should not be a story about how you met, but instead a short story, or glimpse into their life at this moment. You should also discuss how you felt during this process. What was interesting? Strange? Discuss the listening aspects you’ve learned about – in other words, tie this back to the learning materials for this module.

You will need to practice using some important tools: communication, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Try to get in a positive mindset as you approach strangers and let that carry you through this challenge. Discuss these aspects in your paper as well.

PLEASE be safe. Have a roommate, friend, or classmate accompany you and approach people during the day, in safe, populated places.

Remember that people are different, and these differences represent the vast range of human potential and possibility. The differences between you and the stranger can be seen in a positive way as a representation of our diversity. Please also discuss these aspects in your paper.

Ultimately we want you to engage not just in “small talk” but “big talk” and here, again, is a little inspiration from Kalina Silverman explaining what we mean:

Why? This exercise really hones in on your active listening skills. Try to listen without judgment, without trying to interrupt (either really interrupting or with interrupting thoughts). You may have to review the listening module. Great leaders REALLY know how to listen. . .

What to turn in:

  • Your write-up.
    • 1-2 pages, single or double spaced. Not including picture(s).
    • Your writing should be clear and concise.
    • You can choose your tone and style.
  • A picture of them, with or without you in it.
  • Yes, you can submit a video of your “meeting” in lieu of a picture but NOT in instead of a write-up.

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